tv BBC Newsnight WHUT May 14, 2011 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
financial strength to work for a wide range of companie f small businesses, to major corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now, bbc "newsnight." >> hundreds of people have been killed as the syrian regime continues to crack down on anti-government protests. but how come the west has been so reluctant to act? the crisis of the euro continues. what does this mean for the future of the euro project? the ministers from u.k. and france. the wannabe governor of the north pole in green land. >> we are here because of our shared commitment to the arctic. >> sounds great, but it's suggested that what they're really up to is carving up the arctic's resources as the ice
retreats. madeline mccann's disappearance. >> our child being subjected to something like that, it destroys us. >> hello. it's a story that you may have seen or even read much about. it is a story that's extremely difficult to tell, when virtually all foreign journalists have been banned from the scene. the bloody repossession of opposition voices in syria. hundreds have been killed and thousands detained since the pro-democracy uprising began. the united nations security council has yet to condemn assad's regime and it seems way beyond parity, syria stood down from its attempt to get on to
the u.n.'s homeland security council. -- human rights council. >> at least 643 civilians killed. more than 9,000 detained. whole cities shelled by their own government. so why has the outside world done so little to try to end the bloodshed in syria? it's a very tough, brutal regime willing to use force against its other people. another reason why it deserves to be condemned in the strongest terms by countries all around the world. >> a serious revolution facing all-out military assault. there's been condemnation from the west, but little action. europe has just imposed sanctions on some syrian officials, but not on president assad.
it's no different in egypt. yet the west still told its great ally hosni mubarak to go. very different too in libya, but the united nations mandated air strikes to protect the uprising against muammar gaddafi. what makes syria different to egypt or libya, according to some western diplomats, is that there's not the same demand for the regime to go. not the same demand, perhaps, within the country. some think the protesters respect a minority and not the same demands certainly in the region. other arab governments who denounce gaddafi have kept quiet about assad. one reason, they fear what might replace him. syria's a big player in the middle east. disliked by many, but a crucial element in every regional
equation. better, some think, to keep what they know. syria has provided a base for the leader of the islammist palestinian movement hamas that's regarded as a terror group in the west. but it's also helped maintain a fragile stability in the syrian territory occupied by israel since 1967. in lebanon, it sponsors the militant anti-israeli organization hezbollah. but it's withdrawn its own forces from lebanon after years of direct meddling in the country's affairs. to the north, it's built close relations with turkey. both states keen to contain kurdish nationalism. but it's been accused by its eastern neighbor iraq, a facilitating terror attack there, and crucially, it's allied with iran. the partnership is regarded with horror by america and arab gulf
states. as the regime attempts to crush the protesters, it claims they would plunge the country into chaos, including religious conflict between so many muslims and the minority of the president and some of his senior officials. conflicts that might spread beyond syria's borders. a claim the opposition will dispute. >> this is across the board grass roots revolution and against the corruption of the assad family. it's not a sectarian revolution. it's not anti-christian. no one wants to establish an islamic state. it's all about establishing a civic society, a political, democratic, accountable system of government that can represent everybody in syria. >> meanwhile, some think the
argument that the assad regime has been a force for stability is absurd. >> it has supported terrorism against other countries in the middle east. it's been decidedly unhelpful for years in iraq. it has been an opponent of the state of israel since 1948. it's hard to think of a positive example of syrian foreign policy. over the last 20 to 30 years, that's why some are arguing that we cannot afford to see a change of government in syria because it's a factor for stability. what kind of stability is that? >> but could the west help syrian protesters even if it wanted to? russia and china would be unlikely to accept action against assad as they did against gaddafi. >> in libya, you had a con influence of factors that came together. the arab league wanted an international u.n. intervention. the u.n. security council gave it the blessing for that. none of that is going to be present in syria.
so i think what the countries have left is the ability to sanction syria to try to isolate it. in effect, to try to shame it. >> britain under the western powers once tries to cultivate assad, hoping he might be a closet reformer. even today, the u.k. has not lost hope that he might at least be pressurized into reform. but as the death toll in his country rises, the chance of that are ever diminishing. >> the european ideal and the reality have never been further apart. the riots in greece this week serve as a reminder of the growing political divide over the euro bailouts. right wing parties in holland, finland, and france clamoring against taxpayers country going to prop up countries where economies are basically bust. i spoke to the french finance minister christine legard and the european chancellor george osbourne. the combination of bailout is
simply not working for greece, is it? >> it has begun to work. it's not come bleetly done, clearly, and there's a lot of work that needs to be done, particularly by the greek people and the greek government. we had a deal. we had a deal where we bailed out on the one hand, and the greeks were to complete a number of things on the other hand. some of the things have been done, but not all. >> do you think the conditions on the bailout were too harsh? >> i think the conditions were tough, but they were not unrealistic, because the same kind of things were done in belgium, were done in the in orderic countries, and it was approved by parliament and greece. but it's a question of delivery. >> but there's no delivery and they'll be looking for a second bailout. do you rule out a second bailout? >> what i don't rule out is the fact that greece has to deliver on the consideration that it promised, and those included the deficit reduction, which they did. it includes privatization, which hasn't yet start.
and -- started. >> do you rule out a bailout? >> what i rule out is restructuring. there is no question about it. >> that, of course, may happen. let's look at that, because of course, do you think you can rule out a second bailout for greece and would you guarantee it would not happen? >> well, the first thing greece has to do is deliver on what it promised to do. >> we're running out of time and money. >> the reason it's important is because other countries, like spain, for example, have demonstrated that through their own efforts, they are remove themselves from the firing line. so greece entered into the commitment. britain was not one of the country that bailed out greece, but looking at the situation, you can understand why those who did put their money in, like france, are asking now the greeks to live up to the obligations they entered into it. >> but do you think greece is
better? >> i don't think there's any question. >> do you think there will be better interaction? >> greece is in the euro. britain didn't join the euro for good reasons. greece did join the euro. the question is a red herring. what greece needs to do is work within the currency zone it's in. i do point to the example of spain. actually, i would point to the example of britain, of countries that can earn market credibility, get their interest rates down through implementing difficult packages to reduce their debts and deficits. there are examples out there of countries who have done it. i just don't accept that that's the case. >> do you think that the austerity measures are too tough? >> i think that we have no option but to clear up our public finance, reduce our deficit, and get our debt back
on a trend that is sustainable. if we don't do that -- i totally agree with george. we pass on to the next generation, as we have done in france for the last 32 years. we pass on the debt, and wash our hands from it and live beyond our means. >> what we're seeing particularly in northern european countries is people are having to live with austerity, at the same time facing the prospect of bailing out southern european countries that don't seem to be taking the hit enough. the proportion of their vote is very worrying for you because there is definitely a very split personality now in the european union. >> which is why i think it is so important that courageous politicians and members of government actually face the issue. either have the choice of going pop list, productionist, and this is what happened before the second world war, or we have a more comprehensive reproach, we are sensible, responsible, and we actually reduce our deficit.
>> and in the long term, we'll get back to solid, sustainable growth. >> just before we finish, to another issue of i.m.s. would you favor her over gordon brown? >> well, there is currently someone doing the job. that's dominique, who i agree might test the french presidential elections, but i think let's wait for a vacancy. >> but let's be clear, if you're weighing out christine and gordon brown, where would your loyalties lie? >> christine is a very good friend of mine. >> is it a job you would like in the future? >> as george put it, there's somebody with the job. >> the eight members of the u.s. council met in u.s. and russia this week, supposed to be discussing environmental challenges in the region where the ice is rapidly retreating. but secret diplomatic cables we can review on "newsnight" show that behind the scenes governments have been discussing how they can carve up the arctic
oil and gas resources. here's our science editor susan watts. >> only one woman it seems can save the polar bears and peoples of the distant north as the ice melts. >> i love it. so happy we're having the meeting here. >> u.s. secretary of state hillary clinton joined leaders from the arctic nations in green land for that mission. >> of course we are here because of our shared concern and commitment to the arctic. this region faces so many challenges, especially with the harmful effects of climate change. >> but how -- her own diplomats quote conversations about carving up oil and gas resources as the ice retreats.
>> there are other issues at stake. the melting of sea ice and the possibility to develop newly accessible oil and gas reserves. we seek to pursue these >> of course it will all be done in a smart, sustainable way. the area of arctic ice expands each winter and contracts each summer, but it's the drop in the volume of ice that's now caught the attention of scientists. >> imagine amongst the ice cubes, 10 kilometers high, 10 kilometers wide and 10 kilometers thick. 30 years ago, it was the equivalent of 18 of those in the arctic. >> the extent of ice in the arctic has been fallen by about a third in the last four years. there are more gaps in the ice and it's thin oher, so the volume is much smaller.
last summer there was the equivalent of just four of those monster ice cubein tehar wadofmat a quarter of what had been there in 1979. this is the arctic lab at the university of cambridge. this is one of the world's leading ice scientists and one of very few civilians allowed to go on royal navy nuclear submarines, including this trip in 2007. for 40 years, they've been taking him beneath the north pole to examine the underside of the ice and measure its thickness. so what are the chances that there will be no ice at the north pole within a few years? >> pretty high. in fact, it could easily happen that we'll have an ice-free north pole within a year or two. each year, the retreat in the summer takes the ice back to this kind of line here, which is almost as far as the pole. so it only needs a fairly small
extra retreat to actually expose the north pole. so i really anticipate that will happen in the next year or two. or three. >> the arctic powers are russia, canada, denmark, which still rules greenland, norway, and the u.s. the cables clain the danish foreign minister joked with the americans -- >> if you stay out, then the rest of us will have more to carve up in the arctic. >> the grab for the arctic accelerated in 2007 when the polar explorer used a submarine to plant a russian flag on the seabed under the north pole. according to the cables, a russian official told the americans that this was a deliberate move by the kremlin and that he was -- >> following orders from the united ruling russia party. >> the cables also report comments by the russian ambassador to nato saying -- >> the 21st century will see a
fight for resources, and russia should not be defeated in this fight. >> the immediate battleground is greenland. last year, the danish sent their navy to interview when green peace tried to stop energy. three weeks arc another rig was sent north and it was boarded by green peace. can energy has its headquarters in eden breaux. he says his company as pioneers in the arctic. >> right now, we're leading the charge and we do that very safely and responsibly. we're ahead of everybody else, but there are a large number of other companies now that have made entry and they're all watching and waiting to see what we find. >> but the cables show that american diplomats believe green land -- >> is on a clear track to independence. >> and see this is --
>> a unique opportunity. >> for american gas and oil companies to get a foothold. a senior greenland official is saying greenland -- >> is just one big oil strike away. >> from independence. >> they say it's about 50 billion barrels oil equivalent aroundreenland. to put that in context, that's equive land of what the north sea has produced over the last 40 years. >> green peace launched a nighttime raid. >> green peace is taking this action to protect the arctic environment from dangerous deep sea drilling. >> green peace restated that position to "newsnight" from their ship. >> there was a carve-up of the arctic that we're seeing. can energy rushing in and sparking a dangerous new arctic oil rush. instead of doing this, we think it's time to go beyond oil. we need to be investing in
clean, cutting edge technologies to power our economy without wrecking the environment and without raising dangerous stakes. >> there's a real scramble going on for resources, a kind of mini version of the scramble for africa in the 19th adventurery beginning to happen. everybody thinks they've got a chance to get at those resources, wants to get in there and stake their claim. >> i was in the arctic in august 2008. and since then, the volume of summer ice has continued to drop, a sea route is opening up across the top of russia, causing a third of summer journeys for cargo ships from northern europe to the far east. new fishing grounds are being uncovered and the arctic council signed its first treaty, a tentative step, perhaps, towards dividing the spoils. >> four years ago this month, madeleine mccann disappeared while on holiday with her parents and twin brother and
sister. her mother kate mccann has published a rell have atory book about her daughter's disappearance, the international hunt and all that has followed since. based in part on a journal she's kept since that day, the third of may 2007, she writes that pedophiles make her want to rip her skin off and physical intimacy with her husband was impossible at her lowest ebb. >> during the days following her disappearance, you were very restrained, very quiet. and that was obviously your way of dealing with what was going on. but in a sense, you've opened up in this book, particularly about your own relationship. how hard was that to do? >> i think i am quite a private person, so it hasn't come naturally, to be honest. i think i've learned over the last four years, or developed a kind of protective layer really.
so i think i'm tougher and able to shoulder more than i was. i didn't feel i could do something that wasn't as complete and as honest as it could be really. i think it would be unrealistic if i didn't explain really how much the impact this has had on all aspects of our life really. >> you did say in the book that you wondered whether we haven't already given so much of ourselves and our family to the world. did you talk about the extent of the personal revelations in the book together before you wrote it? >> we did. and, you know, it wasn't a decision we've taken lightly. we had to give it a lot of thought. >> we did. some things have come out. but at the same time, kate, she has attention to detail and her determination, when she says
she's going to do something, she does it properly. it's an important aspect of the devastation that abduc >> when you're right about the problems -- when you write about the problems of physical intimacy, i think that's probably quite surprising for people that you have revealed that. because of course that is a front headline. >> absolutely. it has had an impact on our relationship. we're very lucky that we had a strong relationship to start with. >> are you in any way overprotective of twins at the moment? >> i hope we've got the balance right. i think i've always a bit of a worryier, but, you know, we're we try to give them freedom within reason. but there's a few things i've changed. simple things like going to the petrol station, they'll come out of the car with me if i'm filling up. >>'m sure we're not the only people that have changed. just the things you wouldn't have considered a risk before. what we did, we just did not
consider to be a risk. >> for any naysayers, it's been about that. and that you must think all the time is something that's just part and parcel of the story. >> we have the face this for all time. whenever we do an interview, we have to face that decision we made. and i hope you've explained why we did it and we wouldn't have done anything to put our children at risk. but at the same time, there's a person out there, there's an abductor out there who's off the hook at the moment. >> after 100 days, and in the book you wrote to her saying she was with someone that loved her. what is the most benign story that you can think of? >> no scenario is pleasant because i guess she's with us. but i guess somebody who wants a child who didn't have a child,
who had lost a child. and someone who really loves having madeleine. she's hard not to love. and certainly an anomaly. maybe they love madeleine so much that they want her. >> what we do know is the younger the child is taken, the more lakely they've been taken to be kept. so madeleine is right at that cusp rather than the profile of a child who's taken by a sex offender. >> but on that basis, you're right. the most distressing thoughts, and you write very graphically about wanting to tear your skin off. can you talk to me a little bit about that? >> it was very graphic what was going on in my head. obviously that was our biggest fear. it was impossible for me to dismiss it. we are realistic. we know that is a possible
scenario. but just the thought of someone so lovely and beautiful, our child, being subjected to something like that was enough to destroy us. and the fear and the images which were so vivid, are very destructive. and at that time, it was really difficult to try and rid them out of my brain and very difficult to think about all the scenarios, because that was your biggest fear. >> why are you so sure that madeleine is still alive? >> i think there's a really good chance there's still alive. there was never any evidence that she's come to any harm. we know of many cases of missing children who disappear for years having been abducted and have been written off and then they have turned up alive. i guess i feel she's out there. and who knows, maybe every mother would feel like that, i don't know. but i just have that feel in me that this isn't over.
and there's certainly nothing telling me to stop or to slow down. >> is that partly to do with your faith? >> i don't know. i really don't know, to be honest. my faith tells me that wherever she is, she's fine. >> thank you all very much. >> thank you. >> that's all from us this week. goodbye. >> funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. mcarthur foundation. and union bank. >> union bank has put its